How to create mobile apps? That’s the question all designers face when they take on mobile app design.
We have been focusing a lot on building mobile friendly web apps in the previous weeks, but we didn’t cover its designing part. So today we share a mobile app design software collection.
This post is intended for design minds, not the advanced developers. This post focuses on the tools that help beginning mobile app designers to serve a better user experience.
If you are a beginning your career in mobile app design, I have listed the secrets of designing a successful mobile at the end of the post. Don’t forget to check them out.
Create a Mobile App Design with These Free Tools
This is an excellent tool startups and design agencies. What it does is that it creates prototypes for iOS, Android, Apple Watch and of course, web. More than a hundred thousand designers are using it. It’s free!
InVision is arguably the world’s best prototyping, collaboration and workflow platform for designers. It is supported by Adobe, Twitter, Shopify, Evernote, Adidas and such other giants of the industry. There’s must be a reason they support InVision.
This is the best free iOS app design tool that I’ve found. This app allows its user to view the complete collection of app animation videos on their iPhone.
When it comes to mobile app development resources, you need a sound library. Sounds are important in mobile app design because they grab attention and enhance the interactivity and user experience. Octave is a free library of UI sounds.
App.js is one of the designers’ most favorite HTML based mobile app framework because it contains no additional stuff. It is the an incredibly simple and incredibly lightweight app framework.
Another good thing about App.js is that it uses Chromium at the core so you get latest HTML 5 APIs working.
This is a minified CSS framework for creating mobile app designs. I haven’t used it personally but it is gaining popularity rapidly in the web design circles.
Compass is a Sass (CSS3 extension) based set of nested rules, variables, mixins, selector inheritance, and much more.
Thanks to Sass, the generated code is well formatted so your stylesheet stays organized and minimal.
According to almost all successful chefs, a food without proper garnishing cannot sell at its due price. Some say that presentation is even more important than its taste… that’s exactly the case in designs. Without proper presentation, nobody buys your mobile app designs.
This resource gives you a set of free templates for presenting your app designs in style.
We shared lots of pure CSS icons in a previous post, but we have to feature at least one icon pack here. So here’s the best one.
This is a gif image. You’ll have to stare at it to realize it 😛
Pop is an animation library made exclusively for mobile apps. Since Google material design focuses on animations, you should get a grasp on animations.
This is a mobile app building tool and community. It contains free resources and free tutorials. This is a good place to start building your first mobile app online.
7 UX Tips for Mobile App Design
You now have the tools and libraries to design mobile apps, but what about the skills and methodology? Of course we need a detailed article, perhaps a series of articles on that topic but I think I can give a few essential tips right here. Let’s begin:
- A mobile device is not a mini-computer: our design approach needs to be different. We often forget that a mobile device is completely different from a desktop computer. We need to focus on gestures, targeted content, vertical scrolling and tap functions and animations.
- Targeted content: in web design, we focus so much on anticipating our users’ needs. That is even more important in mobile app designing. 99% of your users will be downloading your app for a few particular purposes in mind, make sure your app serves them their needs. Serves them quickly, without confusion and serves it beautifully. Your content needs to be targeted for that purpose only.
- One purpose only: the problem with us designers, especially coming from web design, is that we try to add to much into one app. For instance, I’m making an app for sports, I’d want it to tell the scores, show live streams, present articles and reviews and previews, contain podcasts, cover highlights… the list can go on and on. But you must not do that. Wanna make an app, focus on one thing and one thing only. If you believe that primary use of your app is to tell the live score, then it should just tell the live score. Give more importance to that. The score need to be updated in real time faster than any other app, they should be big, they should work as wallpaper, etc. etc. etc. but focus must be on telling the scores and nothing else.
- Flexible designing: there are so many screen sizes in the market that you can’t just limit your designs to a few popular platforms. Your designs need to adapt. In web we have responsive web designing but you need to carry the same attitude to app designing as well. Besides, web designing and app designing are overlapping each other these days.
- Always, always make it stupid friend: Einstein said that there are only two infinite things, the universe and stupidity. Then he said “I’m not so sure about the universe.”
The fact is that not all your users geniuses. There are stupid people in this world and they also have mobile devices. Make sure your design caters them as well as it does to the geniuses.
- Test the hell out: testing mobile apps is a not that common but it can be incredibly useful. You can use platforms such as Artisan for testing them.
- Plan for offline use: if you are not building a web app but a standalone app, then you should keep the offline user in mind. It is critical that your app works offline, believe me on that..
In the end, I’d suggest you should check out our mobile app designing cheatsheets that we published last week. If you already have saved them in your computer, good for you. Now just go and create a mobile app.